Deep Freeze Expected In Mercer County: Warming Shelter Opens Thursday, Authorities Issue Travel Advisories
Officials are warning the public to take precautions as a blast of bitter cold—including a possible “flash freeze”—is predicted to roar through the area.
The National Weather Service is forecasting that an Arctic front will usher in bitterly cold air Thursday night, with dangerously cold conditions through the holiday weekend. Wind chills for Friday into Saturday are expected to dip into the -10 to -20 F range. Temperatures will not warm above freezing until at least Monday, according to the NWS.
While snow is possible through Friday night, widespread rain on Thursday will change to snow that night before ending Friday morning. According to the NWS, very cold temperatures and possible “flash freeze” will aggravate travel impacts. Snow totals can still change on a daily basis, the NWS said.
According to Mercer County Emergency Management, a warming center will open Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at 9:30 p.m. at the Harrodsburg Baptist Church Recreation and Outreach Center (350 South Chiles Street). It will remain open until 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. Another warming center at Lions Park Community Center (450 East Factory Street) will be open Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, at 8 a.m. and remain open through Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, at 4 p.m.
Authorities are asking the public for donations of prepackaged food and drinks for the warming shelter, including instant coffee, water, and peanut butter crackers, among other items. Donations can be dropped off at the Mercer County Fiscal Courthouse (207 West Lexington Street) during business hours.
Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency ahead of an arctic front, which is also expected to produce wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph on Friday. The front is expected to affect travel, and other impacts may include broken waterlines, power outages and damage to public infrastructure and private properties.
The Christmas holidays are the some of the biggest days for travel of the year, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Kentucky State Police are advising motorists to prepare for winter weather. According to KYTC, citizens should avoid driving and traveling if at all possible.
Here are some tips for driving in snow and ice, courtesy of the KYTC:
• Avoid nonessential travel if conditions are dangerous.
• Check the forecast and plan ahead for your trip.
• Make sure your vehicle is sufficiently winterized – check the battery, antifreeze level, heater, defroster, wipers and windshield washer.
• Dress warmly for the weather – in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, in anticipation of unexpected emergencies.
• Try to keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent fuel line freezing and in preparation for possible lengthy delays on the roadway.
• Make sure a friend or relative is aware of your travel route.
• Carry a cell phone.
• Make sure your vehicle has an emergency care kit. It should include jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper, blankets, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, and traction material.
• Drive carefully. Allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Do not use cruise control.
• Give a wide berth to snow removal equipment.
• Bridges and exit and entrance ramps can be icy when other areas are not.
• Stopping in snow requires more braking distance than stopping on dry pavement – up to four times more distance. Leave plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead.
• Be visible. Dull, cloudy days reduce visibility – drive using low-beam headlights.
• Steer into the skid. Stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go.
Get the latest forecast from the National Weather Service at weather.gov.
Find information about KYTC snow and ice removal efforts at snowky.ky.gov.